Drug Testing Kits: Intersection of law and rave culture

Drug tests for mdma, lsd testing kits, molly testing kits, drug purity test kits. These are just a few of the popular search results that pop up when googling marquis and ehrlich’s reagent. Drug testing kits have long been used by police to determine the identity of unknown substances, although law enforcement likely does not refer to them in such terms. More officially, they are often referred to as analytic reagents, or NARK testing kits.

To understand how we got to this point, we need to take a step into the past century. One of the most popular testing reagents, Marquis reagent, was originally described by Russian chemist Eduard Marquis in 1906. The reagent was designed to help identify the presence of certain structural groups in a chemical compound. Shortly after the discovery of this reagent, there begins to show up reference to the compound in medical journals, such as a 1928 JAMA article citing the use of marquis reagent testing for the presence of morphine and other alkaloids in natural extracts.

This is not Eduard Marquis, but I imaging he probably looked something like this

Since the early 1900’s, the use for colorometric (tests that work by changing color) reagents has expanded.  In 1979, thanks to the Justice System Improvement Act, the law enforcement and corrections standards and testing program was instituted, leading to a standardized program pushing to make in-the-field reagent testing a common law enforcement tool. Fast forward 20 years, and Dancesafe was founded in 1998, with a similar goal in mind; to expand the access to reagent testing. However this time, the tests were being offered to individuals looking to make informed and safe decisions about recreational drugs they plan to ingest.This was in essence the beginning of the use of analytic testing reagents for drug users to reduce harm. Since that time, many reagents that were first described in literature by chemist with last names that are difficult to pronounce, have been reappropriated by the counterculture in the name of harm reduction. Knowledge is power and the more people make informed decisions, the better for everyone.

Elevation Chemicals is honored to stand on the shoulders of the chemist and companies that have gone before us. Success and progression of knowledge rarely happen in a vacuum, so we thank those that have gone before us.